All these years, I’ve never claimed a favorite author. I guess I was waiting for someone a little more highbrow, but screw it. I’m ready to say it: Liane Moriarty is my favorite author.
This is a book that walks like chick lit, talks like chick lit, has cover art like chick lit, has a summary that reads like chick lit, but it’s not chick lit. Or it’s chick lit so good it’s almost subversive. I don’t know.
What I do know is that (this is not a spoiler) this book is the most accurate representation of an abusive relationship that I’ve ever seen in a book, movie, or anywhere else. As a survivor of DV, even though it’s only one plot line out of many in this book, I want to give this book to anyone I love who’s ever not quite gotten it and say, read this.
The summary sounds like dime a dozen chick lit. Three women dealing with their own domestic dramas. Their lives end up intersecting. Standard stuff. But it’s not. This book does not flinch from some very nasty issues, it lets grey area stand, it lets the villain be a human rather than a caricature. Not many people can nail motherhood like Moriarty does. I can show you a book that does a good job expressing the adoration you feel for your children, or the exhaustion, or the pride and protectiveness, or the guilt, doubt, ambivalence, worry, or the “mom culture” that you find yourself indoctrinated into – but not many that hit it all. Except this one, and most of Moriarty’s others.
Above all, I love the author’s tendency to present a big, gnarly, improbable scenario (which in this case, I was not impressed with initially, it reminded me too much of Clue) and then work backwards until little everyday moments while you’re working on a school project or dealing with a lice outbreak or watching The Walking Dead pile on top of each other, each one naturally leading to the next, until you find yourself back at that improbable scenario which now seems completely probable. That’s how gnarly improbable scenarios come about all the time. This book has the accessibility and readability of chick lit with the heft of something else entirely.